Wanda T. Grimsby Detective Extraordinaire (Little Monsters and Ax-Ent) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Wanda T. Grimsby is Toronto’s top detective-slash-adventurer. Wanda works for the mysterious Franco-Russian, Big Bittions who finds companionship in the giant eyeball she carries around with her (the “private eye”) and has a fondness for prattling on in a comically exaggerated French accent.

Big Bittions gives Wanda a mission to locate two bizarre, endangered animals, the Quagga and the Elephant Bird, and prevent them from meeting lest they mate to create a super-breed of fire breathing bird donkeys or something of the sort.

Wanda is sure to need some help along the way. Luckily, with the help of an audience full of keen-eyed, eager kids, I’m sure it won’t be long before Wanda completes her mission.

Emily Andrews is appropriately spunky and energetic as Wanda, the kids in the audience seem to take a shining to her immediately. Playwright and actor Melissa Major’s performance as Big Bittions is so comically over-the-top she has the audience in stitches the entire time she’s on stage. Rounding out the cast, the multi-talented Justin Bott provides a live soundtrack including music and sound effects as well as playing a several characters.

Special mention should also be given to the young actors who play the parts of the Quagga and the Elephant Bird on a rotating basis; Paige Facchini, Nathalie Kati, Lana Mogic, Jenna Purther, Trinity Regular and Isabelle Yang – the youngest performers at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

Clocking in at around 45 minutes and using just the right amount of audience participation to keep the kids engaged without unduly dragging down the pace of the show, Wanda T. Grimsby Detective Extraordinaire would make a great family outing for families with kids aged four and up.


Little monsters and Ax-Ent 

in association with The Toronto Fringe Festival presents

Wanda T. Grimsby Detective Extraordinaire

Written by Melissa Major

Performed by Emily Andrews, Justin Bott, Melissa Major and 2 special guests

VENUE: FK FringeKids! (Palmerston Library / 560 Palmerston Avenue)


Sat, July 9 7:15 PM

Sun, July 10 11:00 AM

Mon, July 11 4:15 PM

Tue, July 12 12:45 PM

Wed, July 13 2:45 PM

Fri, July 15 7:45 PM

Sat, July 16 2:15 PM

Sun, July 17 5:15 PM

Ticket Price: $10.00 ($5.00 for FringeKids)

Tickets: www.fringetoronto.com / (416) 966-1062

Advance Ticket Box Office at the Randolph Centre, 736 Bathurst St.